Ethos In Juvenile Crimes

679 Words3 Pages
Ethos is a rhetorical device authors use to establish their credibility to speak authoritatively on a topic. To strengthen their arguments, they also use logos, or logical arguments and scientific data, and pathos to create an emotional reaction in the audience. In the ERWC Juvenile Justice unit, four different authors, with four different levels of ethos, discuss whether or not juveniles who have been charged with murder should be tried as adults in the adult court system. Most argue that minors should be tried in the juvenile court system, while one demands that adolescents who massacre innocent victims spend the rest of their lives in prison. After closely reading each author’s opinion, it is clear that Lundstrom has the most ethos in…show more content…
Lundstrom’s article has the strongest ethos. She uses different trials of juvenile crime in order to strengthen her argument. For example, she mentions Lionel Tate, who beat a six year old girl to death, and states that “Tate supposedly was imitating his World Wrestling Federation heros when he pummeled his playmate, less than a third of his size.”(11) She uses examples such as Tate to indicate that these adolescents are yet to be mature. This puts it into the reader’s minds that these juveniles are indeed not yet adults, and therefore should not be tried as such. Lundstrom also uses statistics that prove that juvenile crime is down, that “the nation’s juvenile arrest for murder fell 68 percent from 1993 to 1999, hitting its lowest level since 1966, according to the Justice Department. The juvenile arrest rate for violent crime overall fell 36 percent from 1994 to 1999.”(19) The reason why she adds this is because, in a previous paragraph, Dan Macallair from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco stated that “We’ve created this image tht teenagerrs are something to be feared,”(16) proving that the crime rate for these teens have dropped dramatically, showing that adolescents are not as violent as they once were. Marie Lundstrom states that all minors be…show more content…
She uses emotional appeal rather than concrete facts, such as “they are less mature, more vulnerable to peer pressure, cannot escape from the dangerous environments, and their characters are still in formation. And because they remain unformed, it is impossible to assure that they will always present an unacceptable risk to public safety.”(6) She uses loaded language to create an emotional response to her readers, creating sympathy for the juveniles. She also claims that, “as a former juvenile court judge, I have seen firsthand the enormous capacity of children to change and turn themselves around. The same malleability that makes them vulnerable to peer pressure also makes them promising candidates for rehabilitation.”(8) This makes the reader believe that, despite the heinous crimes the juveniles committed, they are still able to change. Gail Garinger’s claim of minors not receiving life sentences for the fact that they have the ability to change by using emotional responses in the reader makes her article the least credible.
Open Document